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Guaranteed cost savings is a big part of the package offered by a new partnership between two Chicago-area companies that are veterans in the tradeshow industry.

The new partnership is called Prime Electrical & Exhibition Services and is comprised of the tradeshow-veteran firms Prime Electric and Absolute Production Services located in Chicago. The two companies are working with local officials to boost tradeshow participation while reducing the cost of providing electrical services at McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

“We decided to bring these two entities together to offer up a real homespun solution,” said Charlie Nicosia, partner, Prime Electrical & Exhibition Services. “It’s an at-cost labor rate. What you use you get billed for.”

Recent legislative reforms enacted during the past two years have made it possible for the two firms to join forces and reduce costs for tradeshows and exhibitors at Chicago’s McCormick Place and Navy Pier. Specifically, the two companies have eliminated the prior practice of up-charging for electrical services labor and enhance recently enacted legislation to reduce the cost of participation in tradeshows and other events.

“We believe in a strategy that through efficient labor management and aggressive price points, it will benefit the consumer and help grow the tradeshow industry in Chicago,” said Nicosia. “We provide transparent billing to our clients. The hours and manpower for services rendered are exact; there is no bundling.”

The reforms make it possible for tradeshows and exhibitors to put on events and participate at McCormick Place and Navy Pier at a reduced cost. The reforms include an Exhibitors Bill of Rights that, in part, gives exhibitors a greater ability to reduce labor costs when setting up and dismantling. It also discourages excessive profiting from labor services.

“According to feedback from various shows, the [electrician labor] rates were increased costs to customers,” said Nicosia. “The new legislation addressed that. It tries to deter contracts with excessively high charges.”

With the new legislation in place, officials for Prime Electric and Absolute Services partnered together and are working with the recently created Choose Chicago to provide more efficient and cost-effective services for tradeshows and exhibitors. Choose Chicago became active in July 2012 and was created to boost tourism and tradeshow participation in Chicago.

“We know that Choose Chicago is promoting the cost-cutting labor reforms at McCormick Place and Navy Pier, and we look forward to partnering with them in the promotion of Chicago’s meeting and tradeshow excellence,” said Nicosia. “We will guarantee a savings for meetings and tradeshows that have been to Chicago previously. We are in a real position to be a true resource in bringing convention business to the city of Chicago.”
A big part of those cost-saving labor reforms includes transparent billing of electrical services. The prior practice of tacking on a premium to electrical labor services has been eliminated.

“Chicago was losing business to other cities. But case studies show the reforms are working,” said Nicosia. “The standard was to be up-charging for labor, but that has changed. We offer a solution that will help everyone.

“One of the solutions is customer service. We understand how to work with the trades and have a solution that is customer-friendly. We work with our partners and work with the trades to deliver what customers expect.”

With the new reforms in place, many tradeshows are either coming back to Chicago or remaining rather than looking for new locations and venues. Among those events are the Black Women’s Expo, the Dub Super Series Custom Car Show, the Pepsi Conference, the National Chocolate & Dessert Show and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. And more events and exhibitors are making commitments to return to Chicago.

“The concept is working, and we are guaranteeing efficiencies and savings,” said Nicosia. “We have definitely seen a bump in the city being an attraction.”

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